Saturday, November 5, 2011

As elections near, intraparty fight brews between Gov. John Kasich and GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A year after their statewide triumph, Ohio Republicans find themselves on the threshold of a defining moment.
 
But beyond the obvious battle over a new labor law, which polls show headed for defeat at the ballot box Tuesday, a behind-the-scenes power struggle is percolating within the party
 
Few who know the most intimate details of the feud will talk on the record, but it is hardly a secret that Gov. John Kasich is no fan of Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine. The friction, more apparent in recent weeks than ever before, was punctuated last month when a top Kasich donor asked for DeWine's resignation in an email obtained by The Plain Dealer.
 
Asked if Kasich agreed with the call, a spokesman sidestepped the question.
 
"We have far bigger fish to fry than this," said Rob Nichols.
 
Nichols was referring, in part, to Issue 2. A "yes" vote would uphold Senate Bill 5, the Republican-backed push to restrict the collective-bargaining power of public employees and set requirements on how much those workers pay toward their health care and pensions.
 
GOP activists acutely aware of the Kasich-DeWine conflict already sense supporters of each man are pointing fingers at the other in anticipation of failure. And many fear the discord will seep into next year, when the party ideally would be unifying behind a presidential candidate.

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